by Dr. Randy
The baby stage
A baby’s different developmental stages will require different styles of parenting from you. The completely dependent four-month-old needs more carrying and nursing than the roaming nine-month-old who feeds herself with a spoon. These stages obviously call for different kinds of parenting responses from you. You do not need a guidebook to tell you that. But parents are constantly falling behind their children. It is hard to keep up. Just when you become accustomed to one mode of behavior, priding yourself in your problem-solving skills, your child has already moved on to the next stage. Parents hear “don’t treat me like a baby” all too often because they can’t keep up with the dramatic changes that occur. Parents are constantly amazed at what their babies are able to do. Every day brings miraculous changes and new abilities. But all parents are conservatives and all children are revolutionaries. We want to conserve and preserve the moment, they are aching to take the next giant leap ahead. Maintaining your equilibrium can be a daunting task.
I would encourage you to read books about child development simply so that you can be prepared for the next step. When your baby is pulling herself up to stand, read about toddlers. When your ten-year-old wants to ride his bike to the mall, read about teenagers. At least you will know what’s in store. Be prepared with lists of job responsibilities appropriate for different ages and anticipate the appropriate freedoms to bestow upon your children depending on their maturity. Parents are guides not adversaries. Don’t get stuck in the role of bad cop. Use the tools of successful parenting. Have regular family meetings, discuss problems and solutions at times of low tension, not during emotional storms, and use discipline wisely. Never hit your child. Children require nurturing, love, support, and respect, even in the most trying of circumstances. Do not betray their trust with punishments. You will only be met with fear and resentment, not the respect you seek and cherish.
Your growing child embodies a panorama of emotions, an ever-changing intellectual diversity, and a profoundly unique personality. Encourage your child’s curiosity. Allow her to test her own limits. Stay one step ahead and out of her way. Try to avoid power struggles. Provide guidance, but make allowance for mistakes. Maintain your sense of humor, and enjoy your child now. Soon this amazing stage will pass and she too will be grown.